Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)


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Volume 20 Number 1
January 2007

Editors: Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle


Editorial - Geraldine Russell

I am grateful to everyone who has contributed so readily to this newsletter. All I had to do was collect the material and send it to Andrew Cordle who used his highly capable IT skills. Hopefully the end result comes near to the standard to which we have become accustomed from John & Jenny Collyer.

Editorial - Andrew Cordle

Geraldine and I haven't really got an editorial policy yet - we're just making it up as we go along - but the general idea is to have a light hand editorially, so we will change any obvious mistakes but the style, format and content should reflect whatever you contribute and the feedback we receive.

Talking of feedback, we now have a bulletin board on the club website (http://www.stragglers.info/forum or follow the "Forum" link at the top of every page) where you can comment about anything Straggler-related. Please don't be shy - let us know what you like or dislike about the Newsletter, and what sort of articles you would like to see.

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

Another year and for many (about 20% of us I suppose) another orienteering birthday. One of the few minor compensations of growing old (apart from the fact that it means you must still be alive) is that every five years, as an Orienteer, you become relatively competitive again through promotion to the next age group. For example, I am now officially 55, though 55 years ago I was not yet born, and I can temporarily escape from Vince Joyce and other top M50 runners to compete with those about to get their bus passes. That's something else to look forward to. With renewed enthusiasm I shall be entering regional and national events from John O'Groats to the Scillies in search of glory. I am, of course, doomed to disappointment, but until the first download reality check I feel positively young again. Apart from that dodgy knee and getting breathless climbing up a kerb.

Committee Matters

I have just been exercising my mind (easier than the other kind of exercise in some ways) putting together a "role description" for my position as club Chairpersonfellow. Why? I think it's something to do with "good practice" and achieving "Club Mark" certification and nirvana. Anyway, I decided that one of my jobs, often neglected, is to inform you, dear Straggler, what your committee has been up to apart from an intimate examination of its corporate navel. So here is a summary of the main items we considered at the last meeting.

  • Prolonged discussion of how to make the meetings shorter, thereby making the meeting longer.
  • Review of recent events, particularly noting the financial burden of toilet rental that can result in small events making a loss. Nevertheless we reaffirmed the necessity of catering for the necessary with a necessarium (latin uncrossable marsh).
  • Considering arrangements for the Baddow Ridge Regional event on Feb 18th (please volunteer to help by contacting Jenny Collyer at 01787 370947 or email jcollyer48@btinternet.com
  • Planning the events schedule until 2009.
  • Authorising Dave Birkett to put together an upgraded first aid kit and purchase two way radios.
  • Accepting gratefully Geraldine Russell's offer to take over editing the newsletter in a new, slim-line format. (It's not that slim-line! Keep the contributions coming, folks! - Ed.)
  • Considering the good work of the development committee. Notably some discussion on providing opportunity for social interaction at events.
  • Discussion of EAOA minutes including provision of first aid at events. We have a number of qualified first aiders and can cover provision from within the club, thereby saving over £100 in payment to St Johns Ambulance for their services.

(Note added in proof; last night there was another meeting. We discussed different issues altogether, about which more in the next edition of the newsletter).

Although all of this hardly sounds riveting it is essential to enable us to thrive as a club by providing a programme of well organised, challenging and safe events for you the members; who, like us (believe it or not) are primarily concerned with getting a run through the forest on a Sunday morning. And coaching support if you want it, from our dedicated band of enthusiastic coaches.

An invitation to attend committee meetings

I'm sure the above will have inspired you to observe, rhetorically "well that all sounds extremely interesting. I'd really like to attend a meeting, see what really goes on in the smoke-free rooms of the hierarchy and meet the men and women in green and white nylon". I have good news and bad news. The good news is that all members are very welcome to attend and contribute to meetings. The bad news is that you can't vote. More good news is that I can't remember that last time we had to. Even more good news is that dress (or trousers) are informal and that club kit is not compulsory. And finally an assurance that attending will not condemn you to become an officer of the club. The next meeting is at Geraldine Russell's on Monday 19th March; 7.30 for a 7.45 start. Refreshments and good company assured. Ring or email Geraldine (geraldine@russell2.fsnet.co.uk) to confirm venue and get directions.

Baddow Ridge Event

The forthcoming Baddow Ridge regional event is something of a landmark. We last used the area in 1982 (or thereabouts) and have not done so since because of problems with access (about 20 landowners to get permission from) and damage during the 1987 storms. Thanks to Jack Isbester's sterling efforts in obtaining land permission, and to Kevin Machin's mapping efforts (he's probably out there now) you have a rare opportunity to make an acquaintance with contours without leaving Essex on 18th February (see fixtures list). Don't miss it!

The History Man

Oh, and just one more thing. Recently I received from Keith Marshall, a founder member of Stragglers who joined the club in 1968, a fascinating account of the club's early struggle to become viable in an age with photocopied (?) black and white OS maps and no e.mail. Membership in 1971 was 12. He even sent me an early Derek Keeble map of Friday Woods drawn in 1972.
1972 Friday Woods map

I am hoping that Keith will write something for the next newsletter, but we have several others in the club with long teeth and longer memories, so it would be nice to get a series of historical reminiscences of the early days. Consider this a challenge!

Happy New Year. May that perfect run finally happen for you in 2007 (as long as you're not an M55).

Membership - Geraldine Russell

The invitation to become a "Local British Orienteering" member which was introduced this year has been taken up by nearly all of our former "Club Only" members. A few have transferred to "National" status and SOS is going from strength to strength. Just a few have forgotten to do anything - I am sure this is an oversight but if you do not want to renew your SOS membership, would you please let me know so that I can amend my records.

Make sure you take your Membership Card with you events to claim your £2 discount.

Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions

The information provided below normally consists of Event Date, Region (eg EA = East Anglia), Event Grade and Type (Grade 1 is highest grade, Grade 5 is lowest. Type C is a conventional Cross Country event in which controls must be visited in the sequence listed on the description sheet). Event & Location Names and map reference. Organiser's contact details. Contact details, costs, closing date etc. for Pre-entry when provided. Whether Entry on the Day (EOD) is possible and the surcharge payable. The range of courses offered. The address of a website from which additional information can be obtained. Additional information in plain language.

At Essex Stragglers' events registration normally opens at 1000hrs, starts are from 1030hrs until 1230hrs and courses close at 1430hrs.

January 2007




SOS District Event & ESSOL. The Broaks, Halstead. TL790306.



John Collyer, 01787 370947.jcollyer48@btinternet.com £4.00/£2.00, Non members £6.00. EPS-SI. White to Blue only. www.stragglers.info

February 2007



Thetford Thrash Weekend



3rd - CUOC Regional Event, Icenian Trophy & EAGAL. Santon Warren, Thetford. TL832852.††



Organiser: Roberto Zanchi, 07721677381. rz227@cam.ac.uk



4th - WAOC Regional Event & EA Championships. Croxton Heath and The Devil's Punchbowl, Thetford. TL878885.



Organiser: Steve Hinshelwood, 01223 844541. steve.hinshelwood@ntlworld.com



Entries: Caroline Louth, 20 Long Road, Cambridge, CB2 2PS, 01223 246145. TT2007@waoc.org.uk CD: 21/01/07. Fees are for one day/two days. Senior £9.50/£17. First Junior in family £3/£5.50, further juniors in same family free. SI hire 50p. Posted final details: SAE and £1. Posted results: SAE and £1. All Senior fees discounted by £2 (£4 for two days) for BOF members. Late entries and EOD £11/£3.50 per day, no 2 day discount, no free juniors. Chq: WAOC. EPS-SI. String course. CC courses - White - Lt Green - £6.00/£1.50. Dogs on leads. Day 1 parking: £1.00. Internet entry via website - CD: 28/01/07. www.waoc.org.uk



NOR British Night Championships. Sheringham Park & Weybourne Forest, Sherringham. TG139412.



Organiser: Alan W Bedder, 01603 424589. alan.bedder@virgin.net



Entries: Pam Jermy, 84 Bush Road, Hellesdon, Norwich, NR6 6UD, 01603 482773 (7:00 pm - 9:00 pm only). pamjmy@hotmail.co.uk CD: 31/01/07. £7.50/£3.50. Combined fee for both days (10th & 11th) £13.00/£4.00. EOD +£1.00/50p. Chq: Norfolk O Event. EPS-SI. No dogs. Entry form with details plus details of a Regional Event ( Single Norfolk Dumpling) on the same area the following day will be available early November. www.norfolkoc.co.uk



NOR Single Norfolk Dumpling Regional Event. Sheringham Park & Weybourne Forest, Sherringham Norfolk. TG139412.



Organiser: Stephan Searle, 01760 337189. stephensearle@btinternet.com



Entries: Pam Jermy, 84 Bush Road, Hellesdon, Norwich, NR6 6UD, 01603 482773 (7:00 pm - 9:00 pm only). pamjmy@hotmail.co.uk CD: 31/01/07. £7.00/£2.50 +£2.00 Sen non-member. +£1.00/+£1.00. Non o club member +£2. Chq: Norfolk O Event. EPS-SI. Dogs on lead in Sheringham Park only. Entry form with details plus details of British Night Championships (10 Feb) on the same area will be available early November. www.norfolkoc.co.uk



SOS Regional Event. Baddow Ridge, Chelmsford. TL769063.



Organiser: Jenny Collyer, 01787 370947. sos.collyer@btinternet.com



Entries: Lyn West, Grove Hill House, Dedham, Essex, CO7 6DX, 01206 322905. lyn@stragglers.info CD: 04/02/07. £10.00/£3.00 less £2.00 BOF & EAOA senior members for Regional & CC courses. Lim EOD & Late entries subject to map availability +£2.00/£1.00. Chq: SOS. EPS-SI. String course. CC courses - White/Yellow/Orange. £7.00/£3.00. Parking £1.00. Dogs on lead. www.stragglers.info



MV NATIONAL EVENT & FCC. White Downs, Dorking. TQ171506.



Organiser and entries: Michael White, 19 Sheephouse Green, Wotton, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6QW, 01306 888886. mandj@white1966.freeserve.co.uk CD: 08/02/07. £14.00/£6.00. No EOD. Chq: MVOC. EPS-SI. String course. Lim CC courses - Yellow, Orange, Lt Green. Online entry preferred (CD: 15/02/07) via www.fabian4.co.uk. www.mvoc.org

March 2007



WAOC District Event.†† High Ash



Mike Capper, 01733 235202. mike.capper@virgin.net† Fees TBA. EPS-SI. Dogs on leads. www.waoc.org.uk




SO Regional Event & SE League. Oldhouse Warren, Crawley. TQ297326.



Organiser: Les Hooper, 01342-322072. les.hooper@btinternet.com



Entries: Jaquie Drake, East Cottage, Vuggles Farm, Newick, East Sussex, BN8 4RU, 01273 400603. entries@vuggles.co.uk CD: 24/02/07. £10.00/£3.00. SO juniors free. Late entry + £1.50 on senior fees (no junior surcharge). Colour coded EOD only - seniors £7.00, juniors £3.00. Lim EOD +£3.00 sen. Chq: Southdowns Orienteers. EPS-SI. String course. Parking £1.00. SO 24-hr Ansaphone - recorded event information 01903-239186. On line entries at www.vuggles.co.uk/entries.htm. www.southdowns-orienteers.org.uk



LOG Compass Sport Cup First Round. Stapleford Woods, Newark. SK861566.



Steve Bones, 01522 541449. steve@logonline.org.uk Fees TBA. EPS-SI. String course. Parking £1.00. Dogs on leads. www.logonline.org.uk



HH Compass Sport Cup 1st Round. Burnham Beeches and Egypt Woods, Slough. SU940850.



Organiser: Jenny Gostick, 01707 890283. jngostick@ntlworld.com



Entries: addressee TBA. CD: unknown. Fees TBA. EPS-SI. www.happyherts.org.uk



SUFFOC District Event & ESSOL. Rendlesham Forest North, Woodbridge. TM353502.



Rob Coulter, 01473 258430. rob.coulter@ntlworld.com £5.00/£2.00 + £2 for Non BOF members. EPS-SI. Dogs on Leads. www.pdl.demon.co.uk/suffoc

Captain's Corner - Jenny Collyer

During the next few months I will need to start sorting out teams for our two main relay competitions - the JK at Easter and the British Championships in May. Before that we need to send a very large team to the 1st round of the Compass Sport Trophy.

Compass Sport Trophy - Sunday 18th March - Burnham Beeches

Burnham Beeches is near Slough. Competitors run a colour coded course according to their age and class (please contact me jcollyer48@btinternet.com or tel 01787 370947 if you would like to know more). We really do need everyone to try and run for SOS at this event so that we can get as many points as possible. I don't know the closing date yet but please try to let me know of your availability by the end of February at the latest. NB - you do need to be a full or local BOF member.

JK Relays - Monday 9th April - Forest of Dean

Could you let me know by Sunday 18th March (Compass Sport Trophy Day) if you would like to run in a SOS team at the JK Relays. The entry fee is £12.50/£6 per competitor.

British Relay Championships - Sunday May 6th - Pwll Du, Blaenavon, Gwent

I will need to know who wants to run in the British Relays by Saturday 31st March. The entry fees are £11/£5 per competitor.

As soon as you know you are available for any or all of these please let me know - don't wait for the closing date. Contact me on jcollyer48@btinternet.com or tel 01787 370947.

Tiptree Heath and some coaching - Stephen Cartwright

Obviously its with thanks to John Pearce for the map, and Jack Isbester, Joan Pinch and Colchester Borough Council for their help in getting a Permanent course installed on the Heath that we are now able to enjoy coaching there. Derek Ladkin and myself had both expressed concern that the new permanent course didn't seem to be getting a great deal of use, whereupon Dave Birkett suggested a club coaching day there. Somehow we were able to whiz permissions through and it was all go. Its nice that things seem to of picked up a bit now with the scouts using it for their training too.

On Saturday 16th December, 2 groups of Stragglers met to enjoy a few hours coaching. Dave led the younger group with help from his wife and Richard Barker, I led the older one.

Just in case anyone doesn't know the sort of things we do:-

Younger group:-

  1. A map walk and feature discussion; map game; stretch; map setting activity and map memory exercise. A well deserved break and drink.
  2. Easy / Moderate star exercises; Debriefs. Breaks and drinks.
  3. Running White or Yellow courses according to age and ability.

Older group:-

  1. Discussion workshop on event preparation and relaxation.
  2. Aiming off exercise including warm up followed by stretches.
  3. Control picking exercises and a Yellow course speed/map contact test.
  4. Team map memory work.
    Debriefs, breaks and drinks as required.

Obviously it was nice to know that the participants enjoyed it and that they benefited from it. The weather was kind if a little wet under foot. I'd even worried to the extent of bringing a large tent for bags etc, yet although it was useful as a base perhaps it wasn't needed really. We were able to enjoy the wonders of t echnology using some walkie-talkies to keep track of the children as they went round their courses etc, and again it was nice that one of the comments regarding the day was that the Safety aspects were better than expected.

That guardian of the Heath Joan Pinch enjoyed watching us too. Whether she had been up at five bird watching I dont know, but I'm glad she mentioned that at some stage some trees and undergrowth will need to be removed to stop the axe falling upon it in the future. Its a useful place for the community, it would be a shame to lose it.

The East Anglian Galoppen - a Golden Opportunity

Jack Isbester reflects on how much better SOS could do

Didn't SOS do well in EAGAL 2006 (the East Anglian orienteering league - you can see the results at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/n.humphries/Eagal/index.htm)? We chalked up nine Class Winners - better than NOR (8), WAOC (7) and SUFFOC (6), but was our success an accident?

I ask because of the remarkable variety of results. There were some Stragglers like Richard Bonnett and Geraldine Russell who both ran in five events and after discarding one poor result were able to record four wins, earning them a perfect 400 points. At the other extreme there were several Stragglers - mostly juniors who depend on others for transport to events - who were able only to compete in two or three of the six events. They could clearly have done better if they had run more often and might have been beaten if rivals had entered more events.

For an illustration of what can be achieved by good attendance you need look no further than my own result. I competed in all six of the 2006 EAGAL events and won none of them, being beaten by four different rivals but, because only one of my rivals ran in as many as four of the events and he did even worse than me, I am the M70 winner! There is no need for me to apologise, that is the way that the Galoppen works. It is designed to encourage participation in the Region's events and it would be good to see more SOS members attending more EAGAL events.

Competition is strongest in the M40-M50 classes. In most other age groups you can be placed in the first three and could easily win the Class if you simply compete in four or more events.

Here are the EAGAL events for 2007. Make a note of them now and make sure you attend:
Sat Feb 3rd CUOC Santon Downham, Brandon
Sun Mar 4th WAOC High Ash, Munford
Sun Sept 23rd SOS Hatfield Forest, Bishops Stortford
Sun Oct 14th HAVOC Epping SW, Chingford
Sun Oct 28th SMOC Salcey Forest
Sun Nov 25th SUFFOC Rendlesham Forest, Woodbridge
  NOR date and venue not yet announced

Here are the 2006 positions for Stragglers -

                         Place in class     Points     Events

M10    Thomas Birkett        3rd              229         3      
       Nicholas Harrison     7th              117         2                             
       Alex Birkett          24th              41         3                                                  
M12    Michael Archer        8th               27         1                     
M14    Michael Park          1st              263         3                                            
M16    James Park            1st              120         2                       
M18    James Lyne            1st              175         2                              
M20    Sebastian Pugh        2nd               74         1  
M21    Chris Sellens         5th              100         1                 
M35    Duncan Harrison       3rd              174         2                                  
M40    Bert Park             3rd              319         4                             
       Gary Woods            21st              50         1       
       Robert Hammond        26th              31         1 
M45    David Sanderson       3rd              328         4                  
       Mark Lyne             5th              217         3                           
       David Birkett         8th              142         2                   
       Tom Collins           9th              141         2               
       Kevin Machin          16th              70         1        
       Stephen Cartwright    19th              56         1                              
M50    Richard Bonnett       1st              400         4                           
       Colin West            7th              226         3                        
       Geoff Pye             10th             151         2                   
       Steve Robertson       13th             100         1      
       Clive Tant            17th              94         1    
       Martin Sellens        20th             168         2                        
       Eddie Banks           22nd              72         1       
       Richard Barker        28th              50         1       
M55    David Skinner         8th              175         4                      
       Nicholas Pugh         13th              95         1      
       Andrew Cordle         18th              91         1                    
M60    John Collyer          8th              100         2          
       Robert Mann           12th              71         1                             
M65    John Russell          1st              363         4                                        
       Bob Cathmoir          8th               50         1       
M70    Jack Isbester         1st              364         4                                 
W10    Rhiannon Ware         5th              100         1       
       Stephanie Ware        12th              50         1       
W16    Ellen Sanderson       1st              231         4                              
W18    Sarah Park            1st              150         2                                 
W20    Emma Johnson          1st               76         1      
W45    Wendy Welham          7th              148         2                                                  
       Veronica Machin       8th              100         1      
W50    Hilary Sellens        4th              135         2                          
       Lyn West              5th              205         3                              
       Susan Carton          6th              100         1                     
W55    Nancy Powell Davies   5th               88         1      
W60    Geraldine Russell     1st              400         4                                
       Jenny Collyer         2nd              199         2            

Event Reports

Rodings Rally - Colin West

Paraphrasing a 1960's joke: Do you like Epping? - I don't know, I've never epped!

Having raised the subject of a family attempt on the short option at the Rodings Rally several times during the year, I decided that the lack of a straight refusal was as close as I would get to Lyn agreeing to risk a few hours of marital strife in the dark and cold of Epping Forest - so we entered with four days to spare, on the short event (6 miles).

This year's event was the fiftieth, so the first one comfortably predated organised orienteering in the UK. The map is now the 2000 version by John Pearce of Chig, three colour vegetation and 1:20,000 scale. Precision orienteering it ain't, but with the inspiration from knowing that Bert Park with experience and a strategy can successfully find the controls rapidly (khaki tents pitched usually in featureless woodland, often the thickness of 'slow walk' sometimes with accompanying brambles) we started at 22.38 to solve the multiple choice questions that would give the map references of the checkpoints.

Red Deers River? proved to be an anagram of Verderers Ride; Hi-de-hi with Den and Deb - Debden Campsite. No ambiguities this year, which have been my downfall in the past.

After plotting the four checkpoints and the finish, we set off on the six mile course with aims of finding attack points. Borrowing the daughter's halogen headtorch was a good idea - five million candle power changes the nocturnal into Apollo's chariot. First check - spiked it. Second one - bit of a hunt with several other teams, but no real problem. Third check - missed it - where are we now? OK relocate to the Campsite and back up from the NE corner and got it. Time looking good - we'd set a backstop of four hours at which to retire, so far it had taken just under two hours. Long leg to number four, good bearing in for 100m from attack point and got it in one! Now just the long jog through the night, now with an air frost, to reach High Beach Village Hall 2hrs 35mins after our start - and to find many Machins tucking into the excellent array of cakes provided by the organisers.

Seventy teams took part this year, so there were plenty of head torches out in the woods, and many greetings from like-minded adventurers during the night. The Long event (12 miles) was won by Jeff Powell Davies and Russell Ladkin, breaking a long run of success for Bert Park. The extreme multi-day events had just been a warm-up for Jeff and Russ. And to add to this success for Stragglers (and ex-Stragglers), Lyn and I as Go West! won the short event.

Home for a precious few hours sleep before a somnolent breakfast was interrupted by the discovery that the Chig event on Epping North, by which we planned to see Epping Forest in literally a different light, had last starts at 11.30. Breakfast was completed in the car, and we were able to get to the start in time for our Green and Blue courses, with (for me) greater navigational problems in full daylight than the previous night. The shortened start period was due to the more convenient than usual parking at the Old Orleans pub, with no walk to the start - about 2k shorter than usual - but the pub needed the space at lunchtime for its customers.

Do I like Epping? Well, now I've epped twice within fifteen hours, yes, I can be sure that I do. And if we co-ordinated our efforts next year, SOS could make a bid for the group trophy for the highest group finishing three teams - think about it!

Suffoc knocked from top spot in Rodings Rally! - Russ Ladkin

The Rodings Rally is organised each year in November by Epping Forest Outdoor Group. Both Stragglers and Suffoc are often represented. This year was the 50th event. It's a night map reading event in Epping Forest for teams of 2, 3 or 4, with two courses:- a 5 checkpoint, 6 mile (straight line) course and a 10 checkpoint, 12 mile course with a time limit of 8 hours. Suffoc have won the trophy for the long course many times including the last 6 years in a row.

It's a different course each year on a 1:20 000 map covered in place names and for each control you are presented with three control sites designated by a grid on the map. Only one is the correct site and you identify this by solving a clue which may relate to the grid numbers, places or features on the map. Get the clue wrong and you will be searching in an empty part of the forest. Just in case this wasn't daunting enough, the control sites themselves can vary from bright lanterns to camouflaged, unlit tents in dense undergrowth.

Straggler Jeff Powell Davies and myself had arranged a training weekend for our adventure race team with our team mates Paul and Sabrina from Cambridge. We thought the Rodings Rally would give us a good night training run to test both our teamwork and navigation. So after a day spent kayaking in the Stour estuary, we refuelled in the warmth of a local hostelry with Thai food and discussed tactics.

We managed a short sleep before the start and met up with other Stragglers. Once we were started though it was far less peaceful. It was a frantic time of plotting checkpoints, solving clues and choosing routes. The first point was an anagram and well lit. After that they became progressively harder to locate. With four brains tackling the clues we didn't have too many problems but checked the coordinates carefully.

Jeff and I swapped the navigation to try and keep ourselves fresh, although that meant we only had alternate controls marked on our own maps. We knew exactly where we were going but were a bit hazy over quite where we were coming from. As we exited one of the controls, Paul and Sabrina both asked who they were following. Jeff and I both replied 'me', as we headed in opposite directions along the same stream!

This hiccup aside, we kept moving well and found most controls fairly quickly. There was only one where we were forced to relocate and search back through the forest. At one other we located the tent, leaving Paul to get the card signed and moved away so as not to give the location away to a nearby team, only to be joined by Paul a few minutes later still looking for it - sometimes you can try to be too clever ...

We arrived at High Beach village hall at 1:30am in a time of 3:08 as the first team to complete the long course but knew that Suffoc started a few minutes behind us. After an anxious wait, it turned out we had beaten them by a margin of 11 minutes and won the event. Not bad for a training run!

The 2007 date for your diaries is November 17th and more information is available at http://www.communigate.co.uk/london/efog/.

Happy New Year!

The Cold and Hypothermia - Stephen Cartwright

Apologies where people sorted this out years ago.

Apart from the Orienteering I have been involved with running clubs for a few years and over that period have been amazed at those hardy souls who take to the streets and Cross country during the winter in their flimsies, while I just look on and shiver ! To be honest I may have a slight personal health problem in that my temperature seems to run a little colder than some would say it should be, and perhaps why I feel the cold, yet even so ! Are they health gods / Are they doing themselves good in the short and longer term?

I live close to the sea and I have often taken a jog or brisk walk along the front. The North Sea can look grey green with cold at times, the waves frightening, and the wind can really blow.

During December I took one of my 1.5 hr brisk aerobic walks along the front. The wind was such that I kept away from the sea wall, afraid I could be blown off, and sought protection below. By the time I returned I was honestly very cold, even going quickly with a thick top, hat, scarf and thin gloves etc. Getting into the car to drive the short distance home I was worried I shouldn't - I was too cold to move my limbs and drive properly. My hands went strange colours when I finally got in the bath.

Last weekend to make the best of the sunny day I walked from home for 1.5 hrs again. It was lovely initially and others were out walking in their coats etc. too, yet as the afternoon sun started to go down I started to get cold again even with my clothing as above. By the time I got home I was genuinely very cold and after a little while decided to take my temperature. Its a bit of a worry having been breathing through my mouth, but my temperature didn't even register. The thermometer starts at 34.5C.

Opinion seems to be that normal bodily temperature is 36.9 to 37.5C, going up and down a little according to the time of day, eating etc.; hypothermia onset is 34-35C with the slowing of bodily functions; unconsciousness 33 to 28C; with heart failure and death possible below 28C. In terms of heat, death will probably result at 42C. Even with the figures, children and the elderly cannot cope with the cold or the heat as well as adults. A good test for littlies apparently is that their tummy is warm.

Obviously a lot of thought has gone into what we should wear when out running over the years both from Orienteering and running generally, yet to be honest I'm worried we still haven't got it right. Is a dry 37C really important for optimum health and performance?

It may sound crazy but what I think I'm learning is that I can't rely on exercise to keep me warm enough, and (unless I'm unwell) when I feel cold - I am cold, and when I feel hot - I am hot.


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